SunShare, a pioneer in the growing Community Solar model, launched one of U.S.’s largest residential Community Solar campaigns in Minnesota, with a goal to enroll up to 5,000 homes by December.
Under Minnesota's new Community Solar Program signed into law in 2013, customers served by Xcel Energy can now buy solar power from a Community Solar garden. For an average house, purchasing energy from 20 panels would eliminate the entire electric bill, according to SunShare.
"Everyone should have the chance to choose solar power, even if they rent, own a condo, can't afford high upfront costs of solar or simply have a roof that isn't suitable for solar panels," says SunShare's Founder and CEO David Amster-Olszewski. "Our goal is to help any citizen in the state of Minnesota choose solar energy located in their community for less than their current electric bill."
The electricity produced at the solar gardens will flow into Xcel Energy's grid and Xcel Energy will credit customers' bills with the energy the panels produce. Participants simply pay for their solar energy every month, just as they do with their utility bill. If a customer's share of the garden generates more power than they use, the energy credits will carry over to future bills. All participants stay connected to Xcel Energy's electric system and remain customers of Xcel Energy.
SunShare employs 23 people in Minnesota, and says it plans to double that number this year, based on customer interest.
(Photo Credit: SunShare's Facebook page)